Kirkuki women reject amendments to child custody

Kirkuk, July 2021- Women members of civil society NGOs in Kirkuk demonstration against amendments to personal status law

By Goran Baban in Kirkuk

A group of civil society NGGs rejects amendments proposed to personal status law calling for child custody transferred to father once children turn seven years old.

The gathering on July 8th in Kirkuk raised slogans “Let us not turn children into fuel for the discord, your laws are unjust and Do not deprive me of my mother.”

Chiman Ahmed, a lawyer and activist, was one of the protest attendants. She believes these are all political slogans endangering rights of maternity and child adoption for owmen.

“Such reforms are unacceptable because its an insult to children, mothers and human rights. We feel embarrassed to describe this amendment to law since its rather a violation of law and rights,” she added.

The Iraqi personal status law number 188 in 1959 entitles mothers for the right of custody without any time limit. The law states that when children turn into 15, they can choose between parents.

The current proposals for amendments call for father custody when a mother decides to get married following separation or divorce of the parents when the child becomes seven years old.

Footage of the protest by women activists in Kirkuk against amendment of personal status law.

The mothers insist they are the real care takers for the children following divorce.

“Mothers take beteer care of the Kids and educate them well while the Iraqi parliament wants to give a push to male dominance and deprive mothers of guardianship,” Chiman said.

The demonstrators vowed to take further steps against the reforms to keep children with their mothers.

“WE want the government and the parliament get our message that we firmly stand against amendment of the law and children to stay in the arms of their mothers, symbol of mercy and grace,” said Hana Khairoulla, head of Sara Ngo for children.

Other amendments to the personal status law suggest guardianship to be transferred to grand parent when fathers pass away instead of the mother.

“Our demands and attempts will be boosted constantly till we stop amendment of the personal status law,” Khairoula firmly said.

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